Ooty/Chennai: The site where an IAF helicopter carrying CDS General Bipin Rawat crashed is five km from Coonoor- a down slide leading to the valley on the left of the bus stand. It is a very thick forest area and accessibility is very very difficult, sources said.
Eyewitnesses said one of the blades hit a tree following which the chopper crashed and exploded.
One of the eyewitnesses, a resident of Kattery, said he came rushing out of his house, about 100 metres from the crash site, after hearing a loud sound.
‘I ran out and saw the chopper plunging steeply from the valley below, before it hit a tree and crashed,’ he said.
‘As the fire was too big, we couldn’t approach (the site),’ another man said.
Even before the police, fire service, district and revenue officials could reach the spot, locals jumped into the rescue act and made all attempts to douse the fire, which raged for more than an hour as the fuel tank was full.
The lack of piped water connection in the area hampered efforts to battle the blaze as the residents tried to help with buckets of water.
Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday evening rushed to the Nilgiris following the IAF chopper crash in which Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and others were killed.
Stalin visited the Madras Regimental Centre in Wellington late on Wednesday and met top Army officials. Senior Minister K N Nehru, DGP Sylendra Babu and senior civil servants accompanied him.